Book 1 The Story of Ning, Dog, & Boss
This book will be featured at the LA Times Book Festival on the campus of UCLA. On April 22-23. I plan to read one chapter daily of this book and when finished, a chapter a day of the sequel called Sleep Travelers Book 2, The Amusement Park.
A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing and must be encouraged. They vividly imagine being the Captain of their Pirate ship, the hero of their adventure, handsome, beautiful, brilliant, and strong. They conquer the world and do anything and everything. The lucky ones keep that childhood wonder! It is so sad many adults lose it on the long bumpy road to adulthood. This is the story of a young girl named Dawnie, who will never lose that childhood wonder.
Chapter 6 Ella the Elephant
Standing in front of them was an unhappy looking Elephant, her head and trunk drooping to the ground.
Startled she lifted her head up when the group suddenly appeared in front of her. Her eyes grew wide when she saw a bear and a tiger standing beside a dog, a cat, a bird, and a tiny girl in pajamas!
“Who are all you people? What are you doing in my cage?” Backing as far away from them as she could she continued, “Don’t come near me! No one comes near me anymore. I am vicious.” She said unhappily, her head drooping to the ground again.
“What makes you say that?” Asked the tiny girl walking right up to Ella.
“Everyone says I am vicious, so I guess I am. I stepped on one of the keeper’s foot when he was brushing and washing me. Honestly, I didn’ t mean too, it was an accident!”
“Well, of course, it was an accident, he should have been more careful.” said the Bear and the Tiger at the same time.”
“Yes, but I broke his foot, and he was out of work for weeks. He howled to everyone that would listen, that I was mean and I stepped on him deliberately. He told the story over and over until he convinced the other workers it was true. Now, no one will come near me. No one washes me or talks to me anymore. My food is pushed in, and the keepers run away when I approach them. I am so lonesome.” She said, tears streaming down her face.
“We are so sorry, but we came to visit you, and if you want, we will take you with us to visit the other animals.” Said Ning, barely holding back the tears herself seeing the Elephant so sad.
Ella put her head up and roared through her trunk, “Really! Yahoo!” And she began to dance around, which made the visitors scurry out of her way. When she realized she was stepping all over them before they could run for cover, she stopped and lowered her head, saying, “I am so sorry, I just got so excited, I lost control.”
“No harm was done, we are okay. You didn’t hurt us, even though you stepped on us.” Said Dog.
“Really? How come?”
“We are here, but we are not here. We are all Sleep Travelers. By the way, so are you. Just look over there. Do you see yourself laying down sleeping.” Said Dog.
Ella looked in the direction he indicated, and there she was softly snoring. “But how can that be?” How can I be in two places at the same time?”
“It will take too long to explain it all to you, for now, just take my word that we are all sleeping, and having an adventure, and if you believe, you can come with us and meet the other Zoo animals too!”
“Mr. Dog, I don’t care how it is done, I just know I am FREE! I love it, and all of you, too!”
Miss Dawnie, spoke up and said, “Miss elephant I would like to name you Ella if you don’t mind.”
“I like having a name. Thanks.” And to herself, she said, “Ella Elephant, I like it.”
Dawnie looked up at Ella and shyly said, “I have always wanted to ride on elephants back. Would you mind letting me ride on yours?” Boss and Ning echoed with nods.
“I would be happy to give all three of you a ride.” She tucked her front legs under her body and lowered her head to the ground and using her trunk allowed them to climb up on her back, helping Dawnie more than the cat and bird, who walked right up her trunk. It was a sight to see, a bird, cat and a little girl in pajamas on Ella’s back. Ella said the cat and bird’s feet tickled her a little, but she liked it.
Once they were aboard, Ella said, “You know where I would like to go? I have heard about the Hippopotamus and would love to see them.”
“For you Ella,” Dog said closing his eyes, and with everyone following his lead, suddenly they were standing beside the Hippopotamus pool.